Be honest, people -- if Carole Lombard and Clark Gable hadn't later fallen in love and married, would their lone on-screen collaboration, "No Man Of Her Own," be all that well remembered today? I have my doubts. It'd probably have the same type of middling acclaim Lombard received for her two films with Gary Cooper.
Nevertheless, we've reached the tail end of 1932, with Carole back at Paramount after two movies at Columbia...so it's time we analyzed this romantic drama at our weekly feature, "Cinematic Sundays."
Back in the infancy of Carole & Co. (2007), we noted "No Man Of Her Own" (or its title at least) was derived from a Val Newton novel titled "No Bed Of Her Own" -- and even by pre-Code standards, its subject matter was too hot for studios to touch (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/6840.html). We've since uncovered more material about the property in its early days. Look who Paramount originally envisioned as the leads, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer of July 3, 1932:
George Raft and Adrianne Allen (not to be confused with Adrienne Ames)? Allen was a Paramount player, probably best remembered today as the third lead in the pre-Code "Merrily We Go To Hell." As for Lombard, she was to team with Raft in "Pickup."
Obviously, that didn't happen. By Aug. 8, the McAllen Daily Press in south Texas released the 1932-33 Paramount schedule, and by this time the leads were what was originally announced -- Miriam Hopkins and Clark Gable, on loan from MGM and by now big box office.
By Oct. 2, the Muncie (Ind.) Star Press reported that "Bed" was out, "Man" was in:
Meanwhile, the New York Daily News announced Oct. 9 that Wesley Ruggles had been borrowed from RKO to direct the film:
And as for Lombard? She had resolved a brief flare-up with Paramount, according to the Oct. 20 Fresno Bee, just as the studio announced Dorothy Mackaill was to play the "other woman":
It wouldn't be until the Nov. 7 Detroit Free Press that it was reported Hopkins and the project parted ways (under terms of the loanout, Paramount was obliged to give him top billing), and Lombard was cast as the female lead:
More on Lombard's battle, alongside a leggy illustration, was in Dan Thomas' syndicated column in the Nov. 10 Arizona Republic:
A Nov. 15 Boston Globe column tried to understand what was going on with Gable after Hopkins backed out of the movie:
As for Gable, Louella Parsons' column in the Nov. 16 San Francisco Examiner said he was being a good soldier...though we don't know whether Lombard had anything to do with it. (Probably not.)
For all of Lombard's athletic prowess, she had a tendency to be laid low during filming. It happened to her again here, according to the Nov. 16 New York Daily News...
...but Clark got into the ill "act," too (as did Joan Blondell and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. elsewhere in Hollywood), according to the Dec. 1 Des Moines Tribune:
Remember the library scene? Here's some info on how Paramount assembled the bookshelves, from the Nov. 19 Reno Gazette-Journal:
Another memorable scene occurred in a cabin (perhaps some of you better remember it when Lombard was in lingerie):
Paramount relayed a funny anecdote about the wood used in that scene, and it ran in the Dec. 4 Detroit Free Press:
December rolled on, and the film drew closer to its release date, as was disclosed in the Dec. 7 Brooklyn Eagle:
As things turned out, it didn't premiere on either side of the East River until Dec. 30, at the respective Times Square and Brooklyn Paramount palaces. The Dec. 20 Daily News had more on what was next for Lombard:
"No Man Of Her Own" premiered on the 30th; on the 31st, the Eagle was disappointed with the production:
Critic Martin Dickstein: "[Lombard] has rarely appeared so colorless and so ineffectual as she does here."
That's the bad news. The good -- the News gave it three stars the same day:
On the same page, see the ad...and the stage shows as 1932 kicked into 1933:
A few other reviews. First, from the Pittsburgh Press on Jan. 14, where Sterling P. Anderson presciently writes, "Clark Gable and Carole Lombard make a swell team." (They themselves probably didn't think so at the time.)
Two days later, Wood Soames of the Oakland Tribunelauds their work in this "light melodrama" and shows Lombard in a better light than in her previous recent efforts: